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Michael Serrecchia’s Year of Murder and Mayhem

Michael SerrecchiaDirector, choreographer, and KD Conservatory’s Musical Theatre Chair Michael Serrecchia reflects on the year that saw him, well…killing it.

As I look back on 2012, I realize just how blessed and lucky I am to have the opportunity to work in the DFW theatre community. Over this last season, I had the joy of working with amazingly talented performers, designers, and producers who take great pride and pleasure in bringing the best of their talents to the audiences of our community. Not only was I lucky enough to be part of the team behind the scenes, but I also had the pleasure of being on the stage in two shows.

I started my season off with a bang as I got the opportunity to return to my boyhood with America’s great pastime – baseball – by directing the wonderful Uptown Players’ Take Me Out. I then had the pleasure of working with my friends at ICT on The Cat and the Canary, a melodramatic murder-mystery. During this time, Terry Dobson called me – not to direct, but to perform in Theatre Three’s production of The Art of Murder. (Hmm…I was starting to see a trend forming here—murder played into all of the first three productions of the year!). In this wonderfully twisted whodunit, I was not only given a wonderful role but also had the additional treat of getting to perform with the delightful Erica Harte, one of my students.

My next opportunity came in the form of an offer from Jac Alder to direct Avenue Q. No murder in this one, but…puppets? You want me to direct puppets?! Since my partner of 12 years, Michael Robinson, is a master puppeteer, they have always been hanging around the house, but I have to admit – they still kind of creep me out. I turned to Michael to not only build the puppets, but to also train the puppeteers. With some enticement I was also able to get him back on the stage for the production’s six-month run. With my partner-in-crime Megan Kelly Bates by my side, I was now back at Uptown to mount the The Producers on the Kalita Humphries stage.

The national tour sets, costumes, and wigs made it a colossal project, but it was an absolute joy to work on from beginning to the very end!  During this time, Jeff Rane asked me to perform in the staged reading of 8 – no puppets or showgirls this time, just an amazing collected area cast. What a thrilling and fulfilling evening of theatre! My late summer wound up being filled with two smash hits just a few blocks away from each other.

The fall saw Michael, Megan and me back at Theatre Three for the Gershwin valentine Crazy for You. Fortunate to work with a talented cast of tappers and character actors, we whipped and molded the proscenium tap spectacle onto the Theatre Three stage. I have to admit that I did have my reservations, but by working together we made it turn out beautifully. It all suddenly came into perspective: my season started with murder, and it had suddenly shifted to mayhem. Putting three big stage shows into three small houses? Mayhem, indeed! Once that task was finished, I was invited to direct XSR:Die!, Pegasus Theatre’s famous black and white play. So I now return full-circle to where I started the year—back to murder!

The theme for next year has not revealed itself yet, but I do know that it holds many wonderful directing treats: Ragtime for the Turtle Creek Chorale and Uptown Players, the return of Avenue Q to Theatre Three, The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley with Dallas Children’s Theater, City of Angels for Theatre Three, Bells are Ringing for ICT Mainstage, The Spectacular Senior Follies and Creep for Uptown, and The Sunshine Boys for Contemporary Theatre of Dallas.

Our year-end essay series finished recently with one from Bruce Wood Dance Project choreographer/dancer Joshua L. Peugh. The essays in the series were:

  • Raphael Parry, artistic director of Shakespeare Dallas and Project X: Theatre
  • Actress Amber Nicole Guest, who enjoyed a breakout year at Lyric Stage
  • Jerry Russell, founder of Stage West
  • Katie Puder from Avant Chamber Ballet
  • Jonathan Pell, Artistic Director of The Dallas Opera
  • Michael Federico, Shawn Magill and Seth Magill, creators of the musical On the Eve
  • Playwright and dramaturgy Vicki Caroline Cheatwood, whose play Ruth was produced this year at Kitchen Dog Theater
  • Choreographer, dancer, director and Casa Mañana’s Director of Education, Jeremy Dumont
  • Jonathan Fielding, actor, director and co-founder of Amphibian Stage Productions



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